Emily’s Inspiration

By Emily Thompson-Young

My father was in the army, and is incapacitated due to knee injuries sustained throughout his career. I grew up watching Dad attend many physiotherapy sessions to maintain his leg strength. This ensured he could continue walking for as long as possible. Dad is very independent and committed to his treatments, knowing that without them his condition would decline quickly, affecting his mobility.

Emily on campus in Bendigo Emily on campus in Bendigo

I could see how appreciative Dad was of the many physiotherapists he has worked with, and their role in helping him with his injuries.

I wanted to be able to help people, like Dad keep their independence and help them manage injuries, conditions and disabilities. This is where my aspiration to become a physiotherapist grew from.

In 2016 I was offered a position at La Trobe University in Bendigo to study a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Physiotherapy Practice. I grew up in Tasmania but unfortunately there are no physiotherapy degrees offered in the state, so this meant a big move interstate by myself to continue my education.

I was extremely lucky to receive the AVCAT George Douglass Commemorative Bursary, established in celebration of 30 years of AVCAT and the amazing work they do. This financial aid allowed me to study without financial stress, independently support myself and undertake many opportunities that I would have otherwise struggled to fund.

Throughout my four years of study I also attained a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance. This led to a fantastic casual job at a physiotherapy practice assisting physiotherapists and running exercise classes.


I joined a local community sports club and helped them out as a sports trainer. This allowed me to not only gain hands on experience before any clinical practice in my degree, but also make many new friends and get involved in the community. The Bursary also allowed me to travel for my clinical placements, without the stress of finding financial avenues to support myself.

The AVCAT George Douglass Commemorative Bursary was a three-year scholarship. I was very fortunate to receive an AVCAT TLC Scholarship in my last year to assist in the completion of my degree.

The AVCAT TLC Scholarship allowed me to focus on my studies, travel back to Tasmania to complete 10 weeks of clinical placement at the Royal Hobart Hospital and complete placements in rural communities of Victoria and a specialist paediatric placement.

Without the financial aid from AVCAT I would have found it very difficult to financially support myself, study, and complete my degree. I am so appreciative of all the support. AVCAT  has helped me achieve my goal and of a fantastic job doing what I love, helping others.


Emily was awarded the AVCAT George Douglass Commemorative Bursary in 2016, and the AVCAT TLC Scholarship in 2019.

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